Standards of Practice

Standards of Practice for oncology pharmacy in Canada

(Version 2, 2009)

CAPhO's Standards of Practice for oncology pharmacy in Canada are available to current CAPhO members only. To become a member and view the CAPhO Standards of Practice, visit the membership page


Excerpts from the Introduction

"Oncology pharmacy, a patient-focused profession, addresses the pharmaceutical care of both adults and children living with cancer. The provision of direct patient care by oncology pharmacists includes patient interviews, observation and contribution to the selection, modification and monitoring of patient therapy.

Fundamental to the development and maintenance of the role of the oncology pharmacist are Standards of Practice for Pharmacy in Oncology. Standards serve as guideposts for oncology pharmacists and as a way of communicating to peers, patients, policy makers, other professionals and the public, the roles and responsibilities of oncology pharmacists. Practice standards also provide a benchmark for evaluating the quality of services and patient care.

The Standards of Practice for Oncology Pharmacy in Canada (Version 2) contained in this document are intended to provide direction and set expectations for contemporary oncology pharmacy practice. Cancer care is dynamic and oncology pharmacy is and will continue to provide leadership in this important area of specialty practice. The intent is not to replace existing standards created in countries or other oncology organizations (e.g. American Society of Clinical Oncology) but rather these standards should be seen as complimentary and specific to Canadian oncology pharmacy practice.

The document is divided into four major sections:

  • Section 1 - Standards for Oncology Pharmacy Administration
  • Section 2 - Standards for an Oncology Pharmacy Distribution Service
  • Section 3 - Standards for Safe Handling of Hazardous Anti-cancer Drugs
  • Section 4 - Standards for a Clinical Practice in Oncology Pharmacy

Each section includes the designated Standard followed by enabling Guidelines. The word “should” indicates that the Canadian Association of Pharmacy in Oncology (CAPhO) considers the item a necessary attribute for “optimal” oncology pharmacy practice.

Practice Standards and Guidelines provide a reference base for goal setting, evaluation and review of the oncology pharmacy service. While these Standards are voluntary, they provide goals for enabling acceptable and prudent delivery of oncology pharmacy services, focused on exemplary patient care.